In anticipation of the final round of the 2019 Pitch Dingman Competition, the Dingman Center is interviewing each of the five startup finalists about their progress and upcoming challenges as they prepare to compete for the $15,000 Grand Prize on March 7th in the Grand Ballroom of Stamp Student Union. Learn more and register to attend the competition here.
Dhruv Patel ’20, CEO
Chris Look ’20, CTO
Anoop Patel ’20, Lead R&D Engineer
David Boegner ’20, Lead Systems Engineer
Megha Guggari ’20, Lead Software Engineer
DC: Tell us about your startup.
Synapto: Synapto is using next generation brainwave scanning technologies in conjunction with AI to make Alzheimer’s diagnosis more accessible, streamlined, and effective.
DC: Have there been some key decisions or milestones along the way that have led you from an idea to now pitching for $15K?
Synapto: We’ve been working on this for about 2 years now, and have been recognized by several institutions like NIH and media outlets like Forbes. Recognizing our methods are worth pursuing has led us to pitch for $15,000 to help further drive product development.
DC: What have you learned from the semifinals that will help you better prepare for Finals?
Synapto: Semifinals definitely taught us to be a bit more human. When we work on our project and our code, its really easy to get caught up on number chasing and trying to improve accuracy. Science has to be like that, if we want to help others with inventions, we have to prove they work. It makes it then easy to forget the end user are real people going through these devastating problems even though we along with our families have gone through the same thing.
DC: What has your startup been working on since Pitch Dingman Competition Semifinals?
Synapto: We have been aiming to improve accuracy through different algorithms and methods. We recently reached over 90% accuracy which we are very excited about. With that, we think we are ready to start writing a paper for peer review. We hope this brings us one step closer to proving our legitimacy so more people are willing to offer us funding to bring our device to market.
DC: What are some goals you are looking to reach before Finals?
Synapto: We would love to have a draft of a manuscript ready along with more board advisors so we have not only experts who can help us, but bring us closer to more funding for a official study. On the more technical side, we hope to try out more methods to see if we can reach even higher accuracies. There are small tweaks we can make to see if we can do so without overfitting.
DC: If you win Pitch Dingman Competition, what will you do with the $15,000?
Synapto: Winning Pitch Dingman will enable us to secure integral partnerships with clinical centers and hardware manufacturers for further product testing in the field. This will ultimately bring us a step closer to transforming the lives of Alzheimer’s patients through earlier and routine screening, a truly monumental achievement for society and human health research.